Bulgaria has asked the United States to place a permanent military force in the country aimed at strengthening security in the region and increasing their military cooperation, local media reports.
Bulgarian Defense Minister Anu Anguelov has discussed the opening of a US military base in Novo Selo, near Sliven, with officials of the Pentagon in early December, reports Dneven Trud daily newspaper citing sources in the Bulgarian military.
Nothing has yet been set in ink, but if the deal is to go through, it could double the American troop numbers in the country, according to the report.
If an agreement is reached, anti-war activist Brian Becker, argues it would surrender Sofia’s power to the US government, as troops pose “a threat to the national sovereignty of the people of Bulgaria because they have foreign military bases, and it incorporates Bulgaria, makes it more secure as part of an American political, economic as well as military formation. You really can't be a free country and free people and have foreign troops on your soil,” he told RT.
US troops have been present in Bulgaria for over six years under a Defense Cooperation Agreement signed by the both states in April 2006. Under the arrangement, Americans are allowed to train their troops at four Bulgarian bases, which remain under Sofia’s command and under the Bulgarian flag.
However, the presence of the US forces in Bulgaria is also an American “method” of securely “fastening the country and its economy and its political leaders to Washington both in terms of the incorporation of US military equipment, selling US military goods abroad, which is a big business here”, Becker says.
Such a military buildup will also threaten Russia, Becker added, as “there is a strong motive force to maintain the Cold War even without the Soviet Union and to incorporate the countries of eastern and central Europe, the former Warsaw Pact countries, into an American sphere of interest through the medium of NATO.”
The treaty also permits the US to use the bases “for missions in third country without a specific authorization from Bulgarian authorities.”
Only 2500 troops are present in Bulgaria at the moment. They include armor, mechanized infantry and airborne infantry or light infantry.